Triumph vs Timid Teacher
Hypothetical Test: True or False
You move two-feet away when your towering, unkempt 6’5 robust, loud talking student approaches you.
You avoid calling on a student whose head is on his desk to ask him to participate in a class activity because, to you, “at least he is quiet.”
You say nothing to a student who broke rule #3 (Ask teacher’s permission to leave seat) because he was only out of his seat to throw paper in the trash can.
You refuse to call a student’s parent because the student has already said in a disrespectful tone, “I don’t care: call her.”
You have too many students speaking at one time, and you look like a “laugh” because you cannot get them to be quiet.
You have written five or more referrals within the first nine weeks of school.
You seethe when you see your students entering your classroom because you KNOW the class will soon become a battle ground.
Letter to You:
If you said “true” to majority of the above statements, YOU are a “timid teacher.”
You are afraid.
You are probably straight out of college, or you are struggling to determine how to effectively influence your students.
What Is A Timid Teacher?
Yes, timid teachers are usually new teachers, fresh out of college. While studying in college, they probably learned about theories of teaching; they probably encountered a number of educational jargon, yet they probably were not introduced to strategies and techniques about human nature that would help them understand how to placate student misbehavior.
A timid teacher is someone who shows a lack of courage to take charge of his classroom. He depends on other teachers to give him ideas of how to teach, and he rarely has effective lesson plans to execute beyond a day’s activity.
A timid teacher has no confidence in himself. He is not prepared. He is unsure of what to teach because he does not believe he has the right style to teach a diverse body of students: He is not convinced that he can teach his students collectively nor differentiate instruction effectively.
A timid teacher is easily frightened by his students because their appearance and tone are contrary to the appearance and tone of his own. He is unable to appreciate individuality of students; thus, he allows students to behave in unacceptable ways because he is afraid if he says ‘anything’ to the students, the students will, well, destroy him.
A new teacher usually dresses in a casual style, looking very much like a student herself. She bounces around the classroom, delivering instruction before first captivating her students’ attention. She has no idea how to proceed with the lesson and has lost all control of the class because the students have dismissed her as “a serious teacher.” Yet, the teacher does not know what she has done wrong.
In spite of being timid—and probably in the wrong profession of teaching—there is hell—I mean, help: You as a teacher must not be afraid of your students and must proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and swiftness, so that your students will not take advantage of you.
“It is better to be feared than to be loved,” said Niccolo Machiavelli, because some students can be ungrateful and voluble and gain-seekers and will disrespect you as teacher if you do not exhibit the dominance necessary to mask your timidity.
As teacher, you must exhibit traits of a leader, of a general. You must shape your students into obedient learners for students to show respect where reverence is warranted (The Prince, Machiavelli).
What It Means to be a Triumphant Teacher:
A timid teacher can utilize the traits of a leader and transport herself into a triumphant teacher just by applying the principles of the letters t-r-i-u-m-p-h-a-n-t. Here’s how.
Dictionary.com defines “Triumphant” as a means of having achieved victory or success after vying for a goal. Your goal as teacher is to prepare your students for academic success. If many of your students are unruly you must create a strategy to alter their mindsets from apathetic learners to willing learners. Teach students “the moral law,” your plan to help them succeed, so that students discern clearly your vision for their success and happiness (Art of War).
As a teacher, you should rejoice over helping your students achieve success in their academics, and you should feel elated about it because the achieved goal is always worthy of the feat and is beneficial for all those involved and for the audience in which the goal is designed. Helping students excel should be your true purpose for teaching.
A teacher needs goals to motivate herself and her students to persevere to the end, to do whatever it takes to manifest the realization of the goals that are written and dated. The idea is to be “Triumphant.”
T=Triumphant: Have a goal to reach and apply all means necessary to achieve the goal to claim your prize of success. Repeatedly teach students learning objectives that they must understand in order for them to be successful when they take standardized tests.
R=Responsible: Take charge for the duties of your teacher-contract and submit to your duties with moral honesty. Be reliable and dependable in your execution of things, and charge your students with the same high standards.
I=Impact: Generate a major effect upon your students. Help them discern new ways of learning and show them how to achieve anything they put their minds to. Lift students from mediocrity into excellence by building students’ self-confidence and self-esteem. Build strongly upon these forces through direct instruction that promotes “winning.”
U=User-Friendly: Be the type teacher who is approachable and ready to help students as soon as they ask for help, or show students how to locate knowledge to proceed on their own. Be the mother that guides her infant from crawling to walking, and remind students that you are willing to help them succeed.
M=Majestic: Let everything you do exude beauty: your speech, your walk, your teaching. Create “aha” moments for your students, and in decorating your classroom, let everything be large and impressive. Rules should be displayed in large font (28) and placed to the front and to the sides. This way, your rules will be the first thing students see when they walk into your classroom as a reminder of your teacher expectations. The institution of signs and banners and bells and music may be necessary as an attention-getter for a noisy classroom. For a motivational and conducive learning environment, unique tools should be explored for effect (Art of War), thus design your classroom decorations like an amusement park, where everything is readily seen, always beautiful, and joyfully and majestically displayed.
P=Professionalism: Be the boss: As teacher, you must appear competent. Wear armor (professional attire) to gain respect. Your appearance should be that of a comely, fashionable adult and not similar to that of your students’ dress. Moreover, you should behave as a professional by knowing your subject matter, taking charge with a voice of dominance and a show of trusted sincerity. You must also be organized, prepared, businesslike, and agile.
H=Humanity: Be fair to all students. Appreciate their individuality. Understand that students’ backgrounds may be different from yours, yet, unless identified as students that carry a grave learning disability, remember that they deserve the same opportunity to learn as you deserved when you were in school. “Forgiveness lets the body be perceived as what it is, a simple teaching aid, to be laid by when learning is complete” (Accept This Gift, Vaughan & Walsh). Be polite to all students, depicting the type benevolence that endears students to your trust.
A=Achievement. Show success. Arrange pictures in class of students’ works. Show the mastery they have earned. Show students’ assignments—before and after—to depict their progressive change. As teacher, “you heal a student by showing his worth” (Accept This Gift). Lastly, when students have met the learning goals and are ready to take the national tests, celebrate their victories that reflect your good teaching. Celebrate achievement in a BIG way.
N=Nourishing: Provide substance to your teaching to fulfill students’ lives. Along with teaching the required learning objectives, teach life skills, the types of skills that will teach students to be good human beings. Fill their minds with goodness, for there is no better way than that. Show students how to be patient, how to wait on their dreams with faith that their “day will come.” Rely on maintaining students’ interests by allowing them to research the careers or life styles they desire for themselves. Feed their minds with hope and opportunity.
T=Transformational: To transform your students from mediocre to excellent, you must motivate them to explore learning. Teach students how to research their personal interests by asking questions: What does it take to become a dentist? Why is education important? Asking questions will direct students in locating answers; moreover, teach them to work in teams to analyze and solve problems, for working together on challenging projects makes learning meaningful and satisfying. By giving students ownership to bring forth their ideas, they will enhance their academic performance and will recognize the impressive change in their transformational growth. They will transform themselves into the greatness that awaits them, and you, as teacher, will become the ultimate transformational teacher-leader.
Think upon these things.
As far as being a timid teacher is concerned, release that thought, for “without timidity the mind is wholly kind: only your mind can produce fear” (Accept This Gift), and timidity will thwart the greatness in you to propel your students to their academic success if you do not take control of it. Apply the “triumphant” principles delineated herein, and soon you will be a triumphant teacher, not a timid teacher. You will be able to make plans, to make goals, and to make success happen for you and your students—every-single-time.
Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)
Professional Development Writer & Consultant
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